It is with bittersweet sentiments that I write this final Learning Log reflection to conclude one of the most rewarding intentional personal/professional development experiences to date. Blessed is an understatement to describe how this opportunity has impacted my life. However, I also understand that the blessings of the Bush Fellowship will continue to unfold as so many of the connections that were established on this Journey will continue to enrich my life and present opportunities in the future.
I was reflecting on my initial application and the work that I set out to accomplish when I began my Fellowship Journey and how it evolved into something more than I could have ever imagined at that time in my life. As mentioned in previous Learning Logs, my Fellowship Journey has been one of introspection, liberation, and reconnection. In former true Sarah fashion, my initial goals for my Fellowship were very achievement-oriented, prescribed, and rigid with little room for imagination to flourish. However, upon taking courage and surrendering to allow nature to take its course in my life, new doors of opportunity presented themselves in ways that I would have never seen if not for the surrender.
I started this Journey as a well-meaning optimist with ambitious aspirations for systems reform while working within said system. I conclude this Journey as a constructive advocate seeking community-based solutions to address the inequity that systems perpetuate. Since my entire life up until this point had been one of mere “hoop jumping,” the limitations that I had inadvertently placed on myself prior to my Fellowship experience were also stifling my ability to create solutions that are creative, innovative, and self-determined by the stakeholders who are most impacted.
One of the most surprising outcomes of my Fellowship Journey includes the amount of personal healing that I have experienced. Through the intentional pursuit of self-exploration and discovery, I unearthed a world that had been masked by the false metric of achievement that left me feeling depleted, defeated, and unsatisfied. Despite the intrinsic rewards of the impact of my work, I felt as though I was in constant pursuit of something that I could not quite identify. It was through opportunities accessed through my Bush Fellowship that I learned that healing is an ongoing process of becoming and unbecoming. Through my Fellowship Journey, I have experienced liberation in many external senses but realize how much liberation I have yet to achieve in all areas of my life. I know that the more internal excavation I do to release negative and limiting thought patterns, the more I will be able to let go of my sense of control and allow life to bestow the many blessings it has in store for me on my life’s journey.
Overall, my Bush Fellowship has taught me the importance of prioritizing self-sustaining practices as an integral aspect of leadership. I have never been so introspective in my life and I am not sure I would have spent as much time learning about me if it was not an integral aspect of this Fellowship experience (or if COVID-19 had not literally forced me to go within). In a time of amplified social injustice during a global pandemic, many aspects of my Fellowship helped me to cope, adapt and adjust my leadership to meet the demands of the times. I am grateful to have had this experience at this time in my life and will use the wisdom acquired through this experience to make maintain courage and make an impact in my community. Thank you, Bush Foundation, for recognizing the value of investing in people to nurture and expand their leadership for a greater impact.